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Fitness First shuts HK ops amidst pandemic woes

Fitness First shuts HK ops amidst pandemic woes

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Fitness centre brand Fitness First will close all branches in Hong Kong, marking it the second gym chain in the city that needs to wind up its business in less than a year after Goji Studios. In an internal letter sent to all employees on Monday, Fitness First said it would close permanently and all employment contracts had been terminated, reported multiple media in Hong Kong.

Fitness First also thanked employees for their services in the past and apologised to staff for the closure.  The Standard reported that Fitness First decided to wind up its business after an emergency meeting. The brand operated eight centres in the city. The centres were mainly on the Hong Kong Island, including Sheung Wan, Central, North Point, Fortress Hill and Wanchai. It also operates two centres in Tsim Sha Tsui, in addition to a branch in Kwun Tong. 

A quick check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE on Fitness First Hong Kong's Facebook page found some consumers unhappy with the news and asking for monetary returns. Meanwhile there were others thanking the brand for the memories and hoping the brand will return to the Hong Kong market in the future. Currently, Fitness Fitness is operating other Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the UAE, and the Philippines. THe brand also operates in Australia too.

In December, Goji Studios also shut down its business stating that the pandemic in Hong Kong and social distancing measures were the main reasons for the closure. Goji Studios were not able to raise fund to continue operating too.

The Hong Kong government also reimposed some social-distancing measures in early January after the beginning of the fifth wave of the pandemic, closing bars and gyms. In response, Hong Kong's arts, culture and sports sectors asked the government to relax some of its COVID-19 related restrictions, including reopening some of the premises as many practitioners. These industries have had no income since the forced closure required by the government. 

Restaurants are also not allowed to offer dine-in services after 6 pm. A total of 15 types of specified premises are required to shut, such as theme parks, museums, party rooms, beauty parlours, swimming pools, bathhouses, game centres, karaoke rooms, sports premises, event and performance venues, and cinemas. 

Meanwhile, a not-for-profit body was also established amidst outbreaks in Hong Kong gyms to reassure the public that fitness and wellness facilities are safe to use. Initiated by members of the Hong Kong Alliance of Professional Fitness and Wellness Operators in conjunction with International Personal Trainers and Fitness Academy and the Hong Kong Alliance for Fitness and Wellness, SafeFit100 is an independent not-for-profit body governed by an independent steering committee. It has been established to protect and serve the industry and the wider community amid the COVID-19 pandemic through the highest standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment to ensure safety.

Related articles
HK's arts, culture and sports sectors ask for govt to relax restrictions
HK govt introduces toughest pandemic control measures yet
HK's fitness industry introduces SafeFit100 with safety guidelines

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